HUNGARY has initiated an infringement procedure against Slovakia with the European Commission (EC) for denying entry to Hungarian President László Sólyom on August 21, the Sme daily reported.
The deputy president of the EC, Jacques Barrot, who is responsible for the interior and justice portfolios at the commission, had earlier given a written statement to the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Hungarian government subsequently decided to turn to the EC to inquire about Slovakia’s legal norms and their application, and a potential violation of community law by Slovakia, Sme wrote.
Barrot said afterwards that he considered the issue of Slovakia’s denial of entry to Sólyom a closed case.
“It’s a bilateral issue between Hungary and Slovakia, as I already explained to the delegations of both countries when they visited me,” he said as quoted by Sme.
According to Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák, Slovakia was informed about the infringement procedure motion in advance.
“We are ready for the following procedure,” Sme quoted Lajčák as saying. He added that all Slovakia’s arguments are relevant.
Lajčák also said the Hungarian side had the right to initiate the infringement procedure, but the Slovak government had the right to do what they have done, although “we have never been happy about it”.
“We do not think that two neighbouring, allied countries should communicate in this way, but I also understand that pressure is being put on the Hungarian foreign service and this is more of a step done for [Hungary’s] inner-political order than a step in relation to Slovakia,” Lajčák said, as quoted by Sme.
The EC will now request a statement on the issue from Slovakia and then, based on the positions of both countries concerned, it will take a final stance. According to Lajčák, the Hungarian side is attempting to push the EC into requesting a statement from the European Court of Justice, a move which must be preceded by an infringement procedure.
Lajčák also said that Slovakia will not face any fine or sanctions as a result of the infringement procedure, which is only aimed at harmonising national legislation with European law.
19. Oct 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff